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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 08/ 2/2006

Mel Gibson, Past Rehabilitation?

By Liz Kelly

Mel Gibson's Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office booking photo. (Getty Images)

Mel Gibson is essentially fighting for his life. He's issued an appropriately humbling apology and checked himself in to an alcoholism-treatment program. He's making all the right moves, but is his a recoverable offense? Will last week's arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic outburst eventually fade from the public conciousness? Will this apocalypto, too, pass?

Maybe.

Robert Downey Jr. has bounced back more than once from the brink of addiction and is generally agreed to be one Hollywood's most talented actors. Hugh Grant, once arrested for picking up prostitute Divine Brown, has settled back into his comfortably foppish romantic comedy track. And Woody Allen, who famously married his ex-wife's adopted daughter, has emerged relatively unscathed from the scandal, scoring a big hit with this year's "Match Point."

Or maybe not. Yesterday in Gene Weingarten's online discussion he also talked about stars who haven't fared well after their careers were derailed by scandal:

"MJ is a good example of the few cases where it has hurt someone's career. I also don't think O.J.'s career skyrocketed after he hacked two people to death ... I would say that it hurts you if you seem creepy. As opposed to, like, just licentious, or drug addled, or violent, or rude, or full of yourself. For it to really hurt you, you need to creep people out."

"Case in point: Pee-wee Herman. He suddenly seemed to be the kind of perv who inhabited sleazy movie theaters and did dirty little things. Haven't heard all that much about old Pee Wee lately, have you? That one is sad. I'd sooner have Pee Wee over for dinner than Mel." (Full Transcript)

Although many readers were quick to point out that Pee-Wee's career is heating up again, Weingarten's got a point. Level of creepiness seems to be an informal rule of thumb. And perhaps this mirrors the line for the rest of us -- would you rather have someone who cheated on his taxes or a registered sex offender living next door?

Still, Hollywood magic and clever publicists may yet lend Gibson the needed help to salvage his uncertain future.

Will you continue to support Gibson's career or do you agree with Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel, who said the entertainment community should react to Gibson's remarks by "professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line?"

Vote in today's poll, then share your thoughts about Mel Gibson in the comments section below.

Bonus Material: Web site the Smoking Gun has made a business model out of celebrity mug shots and court documents.

By Liz Kelly  | August 2, 2006; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Mel Gibson  
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